Menu Close

Mary Prendergast

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rice University

Dr. Prendergast is an archaeologist interested in the history of food and eating, and in the past lifeways of hunter-gatherer-fishers and the earliest livestock herders in sub-Saharan Africa. She co-directs a field project, in collaboration with scholars at the National Museum of Tanzania, University of Florida, and University of Dar es Salaam, that examines social changes associated with the emergence of food production in eastern Africa. She also co-directs a project that explores past demographic changes in sub-Saharan Africa through the analysis of human ancient DNA, in collaboration with the Reich Laboratory at Harvard, where she is a Scientific Associate. She has used zooarchaeology – the study of ancient animal bones – to pursue diverse questions about ancient environments, diets, and human and animal movements in China, Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar. She is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rice University.


  • 2021–present
    Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rice University